Visual Response – Reflection

Title of Visual Response artwork: Rockstar Buddha

Team Members: , Du Huizhong, Li Peng, Mak Han Feng, Tan Zhuo Hui



This project has been an eye-opener. As some of my group members may have mentioned, it is very interesting to have a visual response with historical context and commentary, rather than the usual social or ethical commentaries. Rarely do we have the chance to compare, contrast and examine the different impact from the point of view of the same religious icon across history.

Our first session of brainstorming resulted in everyone agreeing with the modernisation of Buddhism, primarily targeted at youths. Buddhism is the largest religion in Singapore (2010 census), with Christianity coming second. However, Christianity has succeeded, in a sense, Buddhism, in approaching youths, and evangelising them. We initially thought about drawing Buddha in a chibi/anime style, or marketing Buddha as a potential form of merchandise. After consultation, we decided to expand on our initial idea instead, as the latter had too large of a scope and we did not have enough time to complete it in detail.

Then, we looked at City Harvest’s approach to evangelising the youths. By sheer misfortune, I have been there once to observe a large scale worship, and the constant brainwashing by the pastor. The pastor insists to bring everyone who has ‘slid away from God’ back, and you can feel the fanaticism and zeal in the congregation. I left the event with my Sikh friend after a middle-aged lady insisted loudly that Sikhism is witchcraft. Rude.


Protoss Zealot from the Starcraft series, may or may not have been modelled after Christian zealots found everywhere.


Though in spite of them being downright rude and oblivious to other religions, the methods that they have used to approach youths was successful. Large concerts, film productions, even inviting actors or stars to church events brought around huge crowds of youths. In an approximate 17500-member turnout, around 38% are youths, which is quite a large number.

In conjunction with Huizhong, and with valuable input from Zhuo Hui and Li Peng, we manipulated photos of large worships, specifically ‘rock-concert’ style worship sessions. buddha_concert

Preliminary design, colour manipulated to suit the red and yellows evident in Tibetan buddhism.buddha-concert-624x341

Final design by Huizhong and yours truly. The colour was manipulated from bright blue and purple to a yellow tone to fit in with the theme, and colour of the Shakyamuni Buddha of the Thekchen Choling temple. The Buddha was edited to look like a hologram, similar to Vocaloid concerts, which consists of live band performances, except that the singer is actually a hologram or projection of a Vocaloid character, with sound banks sampled from actual voice actors. Vocaloid is created and maintained by Crypton Future Media.


One of the Vocaloid software’s mascot and voice bank, Vocaloid2 Hatsune Miku at a concert in Tokyo, Japan. Her voice is sampled from Saki Fujita, who has voiced characters in anime series such as Sora no Otoshimono and Shingeki no Kyojin.

The images ‘Budd’ and ‘Ha!’ were edited to look like they were shown from large projection screens, similar to how Christian rock concerts would show either lyrics of their songs, or cliched pictures of scenes of the Bible.

After the finalisation of the project, I thought that it looked pretty good. Should we have more time, we could have designed an actual light show or hologram, which would have added to the impact of our final project.

Personally, I felt that the final project was very interesting, though we were a little short on time. The lack of restriction meant that different groups could explore and research on niche topics. However, there is a small issue with this, being that we could only choose an object from a local museum or religious site. This ended up with slightly more Buddhist objects, as they were (in my opinion) the most accessible.

I would like to thank Prof. Sujatha for making this semester’s lessons interesting and entertaining, and we hope to see you again in the near future.